Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ecoSave Report Summary

Project ID: 783480

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ecoSave (Market maturation of a packaging concept for sustainable and resource efficient food packaging)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2018-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The growing importance of sustainability – interlinking social, economic and environmental considerations – and logistics in the food and drinks supply system mean that packaging has become a key interface of this industry. Additionally, in the increasingly competitive retail landscape, differentiation and product standout is growing more important. This result in fierce competition among retailers and brand owners, leading to a strong focus on packaging cost, environmental sustainability, quality and attractive merchandising displays. However, until now, the increase of functional and environmental performance and appearance has invariably resulted in higher costs creating a business opportunity to a packaging concept that could present sustainable principles and goals whilst addressing cost, performance and market pressures. EcoSave Packaging (ESP) aims to pursue this market opportunity by bringing to market its innovative packaging material and patented assembling process that successfully address all aforementioned needs. The ESP’s assembling method and the ESPack material technology allow several key advantages and value propositions: i) 25-50% lower cost; ii) 28-81% lower environmental impact; iii) better barrier properties; iv) attractive touch-sense; v) high-quality printing options; vi) reduced transportation and storage costs; vii) higher stack pressure; viii) significant less drop damage. Moreover, the successful achievement of ecoSave objectives is expected to assist Europe in achieving objectives to secure resource efficient eco-innovative food processing. This project will therefore entail increased competitiveness for the SME value chain and for the EU as a whole.

EcoSave Packaging ApS (ESP) has developed a resource-efficient, environmentally friendly, high-quality and differentiated packaging concept that will radically impact the food packaging industry. ESP aims to mature, demonstrate and commercialize the disruptive ESPack, which represents a big market opportunity for the company and will bring substantial environmental and economic benefits to the packaging stakeholders.
ESP's packaging concept is based on an innovative material and patented assembling process. This innovation project will primarily provide ESP with a commercial leap as first-movers with consequent competitive advantage and export potential, strengthening the company’s position in the field and assisting Europe in achieving objectives to secure sustainable and resource efficient food supply.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

We are in good progress with international stakeholders. Workshops has been held to fully understand our stakeholder’s requirements and needs in respect to the products, production facilities and logistic. Their requirements have been incorporated into our workplan and addressed in our tests. Based on the workshops we have also made a hygienic upgrade of our test-facility to meet the European standards within “Food Contact Materials” and HCCP Self-monitoring programs.

We have bought a cup forming machine and a flattening machine to establish a demonstration capacity for Dairy Cups made on our material. The cup forming, which are essential for the cup production has been modified/rebuild with necessary new features (such as servo driven ultra-sonic sealing) to be able to work with our ESP material. This has been a very challenging process since it is an iterative process combined with the physical properties in the extruded and printed material. We have reached our goal and soon we’ll be able to produce cup’s for showcase purpose in our demonstrations center, that meets the stakeholders requirements (SIG; Arla Foods).

We are in process with our “Scale up production process”. A lot of trials and tests has been made in our own test facility and with our technical partners and coming suppliers. The manufacturing processes of our finished packaging from raw materials into usable packaging are significantly tied up in each step of the process e.g. between the extrusion of the material, printing and converting. This work has been a part of an ongoing iterative process between all the production steps.

We expect to adjust the extrusion setup from a single 9-layer extruder to two extruders placed in-line to each other thus providing us with a 6-10 layer finish rigid film. This configuration leads to a commercial acceptable stable show-case production in our demonstration center and in addition the cost structure of the ESP material will be significantly reduced to the benefit of both Ecosave Packaging and its customers. This will improve the USP’s on all parameters such as environmental impact on the finished product, reduced production costs and give a better sustainability. This is documented in a LCA-report (Life Cycle Assessment) validated by external reviews.

Ecosave Packaging has commissioned a comprehensive ISO 14040/44 compliant comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of Ecosave and conventional packaging. The results include 14 environmental impact categories. Global warming and respiratory inorganics are identified as the most important. For these two impact categories, the results show that Ecosave Packaging performs better than its conventional alternatives. Different end-of-life treatment options (recycling, incineration, landfill and actual mix) are modelled, and they all show that compared with its conventional alternatives, Ecosave Packaging is associated with 28-81% less GHG emissions and 37-93% less respiratory inorganics. With regard to the other 12 impact categories, Ecosave Packaging performs better than the conventional alternatives for 9-12 impact categories.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Big international players in the market have spotted us and used the words such as “disruption and game changer” when they are introduced to our psychical products made of our ESP-material.

We will build-up a state-of-the-art demo center with extruders and converting machines for test-production. With this line configuration we can optimize and further develop our material and test production.
Based on our continuous optimization of the ESP-material and the highly extremely positive feedback from the market we expect to grow our business at least according to our business plan/budget, thus creating thus creating many new jobs as well as generating significant contributions to a global sustainable solution.

Packages made in our ESP-material will besides the much-improved environmental impact also give the possibility to perform a realistic recycling compared to packages used in the market today. Traditional packages are made by multi-composition materials, which are difficult to recycle due to difficulties in separating plastics types and to high processing costs. We have a mono-material which is directly recyclable and supports the idea of circular economy. Our material will be able to monitor and sort automatic in waste-management stations with the adequate equipment.

Packaging made in our environmental material will give our stakeholders the possibility to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility profile and their approach to Circular Economy. We will be able to improve the European business within sustainable packaging.

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